We recently spent two days at UB2, a 'mountain resort' in nearby Terelj, reviewing VSO's 'Secure Livelihoods' programme. Our work is perhaps least clearly understood, compared to that of Health and Education programmes. Together, as teacher trainers, curriculum developers, business, marketing and tourism advisors, a vet and others, we reviewed how we support the development of secure jobs (livelihoods) with poverty-affected Mongolians in the transition to a market economy. The strategic move (by VSO internationally) away from (peri-) urban to rural partnerships will mean many of us finding ways to exit from developed partnerships.
This made me think about the relationships developed between VSO and its Mongolian partners; start-up enterprises, small non-governmental organisations (NGOs), in my case a private college-cum-construction company, and the tendency for these to become dependent on volunteers, and of the slippage of project conclusions.
Although I would like to help develop teachers' skills in curriculum development as summer nears, I fear that the rumoured bulk order of overalls for staff suggests otherwise. Teaching downtime may instead be devoted to laying bricks for our new building, irrespective of the lack of sustainable staff development plans for the college.